The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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New York : Harper & Row, 1971. Sixth printing. Hardcover. 296 pages ; 21 cm. $6.95 dust jacket unclipped. Very good copy in original dust jacket with unmarked pages and square binding.


At last Sylvia Plath's only published novel is available in her own country, eight years after it was published in England under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas.

This extraordinary work chronicles the crackup of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, successful—but slowly going under, and maybe for the last time. Step by careful step, Sylvia Plath takes us with Esther through a painful month in New York as a contest-winning junior editor on a magazine, her increasingly strained relationships with her mother and the boy she dated in college, and eventually, devastatingly, into the madness itself. The reader is drawn into her breakdown with such intensity that her insanity be-comes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is rare in any novel. In this case, the work reveals so much about the sources of Sylvia Plath's own tragedy that its publication must be considered a landmark in contemporary literature.

Lois AMES, Sylvia Plath's biographer, has written a biographical note giving the background and history of the novel. The pen-and-ink drawings in the book were done by Sylvia Plath.

The photograph on the back of the jacket shows Sylvia Plath as she appeared in the August 1953 issue of Mademoiselle.

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